Georgia-Turkey Relations Threatened

TBILISI (Combined Sources)—Turkey’s ambassador to Georgia was summoned to the foreign ministry Tuesday to “explain Turkey’s position” on the possible visit to Ankara by Abkhazia’s president Sergei Baghpash.

“We intend to double-check information and find out whether Bagapsh will indeed visit Turkey. As in the past there have been similar reports which later appeared to be false”, – told reporters the Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze. But she noted that even if Bagapsh visits Turkey, it will be an unofficial visit and he will not meet with Turkish officials.

Information about forthcoming visit of Sergei Bagapsh came from Vice-Speaker of Georgian Parliament from the opposition Paata Davitaia.

“At the time, when ethnic cleansing of Georgians continues, Bagapsh’s trip abroad is unacceptable. We must do everything to limit his traveling abroad,” stressed Davitaia, demanding that leaders of Abkhazia and S. Ossetia be placed on the international most wanted list.

Meanwhile, Abkhazia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba said in and interview that his country “is actively working on expanding its international relations.” Shamba’s agenda also includes reaching out to Tehran.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke free of Georgian control in the 1990s and after the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, Russia recognized both republics, setting in motion a campaign to garner recognition for the ethnic Russian republics in Georgia.

The tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru earlier this month joined Russia, Venezuela and Nicaragua as the only countries that have recognized the independence of the two republics.

Turkish Deputy Undersecretary Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz visited Abkhazia in Septemebr on the sidelines of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s official talks with Tbilisi.

“We certainly hope that Turkey will recognize Abkhazia. There are some positive signals but they have to be materialized. We’re waiting for a more active approach,” Abkhazian Foreign Minister Shamba said after the visit.

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